The Somalification of James Karangi

by Abdul Adan

One afternoon, three young people were sitting around a table at Khalfan’s restaurant in downtown Mombasa. Their gestures and murmurs were like those of disloyal soldiers plotting a mutiny. The trio was comprised of Khalid Bawazir, his cousin Ayaan and her forbidden fiancé James Karangi, aka Mohamed.

“I told you from the beginning,” Khalid was lamenting, “there’s little hope along the line of religion. You could be the Imam and lead all of the late-night prayers in the month of Ramadan, but the Somali guy who steals shoes from the mosque would still stand a higher chance of taking her hand.”

“This is tribalism! It’s un-Islamic. You should have told them that,” protested James.

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